Humanities Center

Works-In-Progress Series

Jason Clower:  "Planned Obsolescence: China Leaps Backward Into the Future"

Jason Clower, professor in Dept of Comparative Religion and Humanities

Friday, April 7th

12:00 PM, Humanities Center, PAC 113

Jason Clower is Professor in the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities where he focuses on Asia. 

Reckless and pragmatic in equal parts, "New China" gambled on an alternative to both the capitalist West and Soviet socialism that chose deliberately to turn the clock back almost to the time and technology before Stalin.  Jason Clower tells a story of how China grew into a world power by clinging to technologies from the 1930s, in a mix of shrewd ingenuity, bureaucratic inertia, tragicomic miscalculation, and awful sacrifice that led overall to brilliant success.


Hannah Burdette: "An Index of Possible Worlds: Towards a Theory of Indigenista Speculative Fiction"

Associate Professor Hannah Burdette

Friday, October 7th

Hannah Burdette is Associate Professor of Spanish & Latin American Studies.

Since the 1990s, several non-Indigenous authors of varying backgrounds and nationalities have turned to speculative fiction to reflect on the relationship between capitalist development and Indigenous thought. This presentation will explore what it means to use Indigenous worldviews as a framework for envisioning alternatives to modernity/coloniality. To what extent does a writer’s ethnic identity and cultural background define and/or limit the text’s decolonial possibilities? Why do Indigenous political philosophies provide such a compelling framework for questioning the progression of capitalist exploitation into the future?

Sangmin Lee: "Walk, Map, and Engage Interculturally"

Assistant Professor Sangmin Lee.

Friday, November 4th

Sangmin Lee is Assistant Professor of Art Education.

This research aims to understand how pre-service teachers critically conceive themselves and their community through walking video making and community narrative mapping. Another aim of this study is investigating how they engage with other cultures through walking video and community narrative map. This research support pre-service art education to integrate individual’s daily lives and culture into the educational programs and expand cultural perspectives of pre-service teachers through intercultural engagement. 

Dr. William Nitzky, "Collaborative Culture in Museums:  Intercultural Dialogue and the African Diaspora in Japan"

Professor Will Nitzky

Friday, February 3rd

Dr. William Nitzky is an Associate Professor of Anthropology.

Dr. Nitzky's research spans the sub-disciplines of Socio-Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies. Within Socio-Cultural Anthropology, he focuses on identity politics, ethnic relations, and rural development among ethnic minorities of China. Since 2000, he has conducted fieldwork in China examining state-minority relations, ethnohistory, ethnic minority religious practices, and the politics of cultural representation and poverty alleviation through the tourism industry in the regions of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, southwest China. His recent research turns to the implications of the recent nationwide heritage protection campaign for local ethnic minority communities, claims to heritage (both tangible and intangible), and power relations between different stakeholders. Through his fieldwork with Yao and Miao ethnic groups in Guangxi and Yunnan, in particular, he has begun to map the historical trajectory of bronze drum heritage across the region and the transformation in function and meaning of the drum in everyday life.

Rachel Skokowski:  "Past, Present, and Future Tense: 19th Century French Print Albums"

Turner Curator, Rachel Skokowski

Friday, March 3rd

Dr. Rachel Skokowski is the Curator of the Janet Turner Print Museum.

From the 1860s etching revival to the fin-de-siècle woodcut revival, 19th-century French printmakers continually looked to the past to reinvigorate the art of the print. Confronted with a rapidly changing visual landscape, some artists sought refuge in history while others turned to the future. The proliferation of print albums in the second half of the century proclaimed the ambitions of these printmakers through creative, often tongue-in-cheek frontispieces. This presentation will examine a series of frontispieces from influential French print albums to explore how artists alternately viewed the past as reactionary justification or as a spur towards innovation. Together, these little-studied images offer a perspective on a historic art form fighting to find its purpose in a modern world.


The 2022-2023 Humanities Center theme, Soundscapes, explores perceptions and interpretations of acoustic environments in their respective cultural, political, and spatial contexts.  Ranging from the sounds of nature to a multitude of expressive forms such as music, poetry, dance, and storytelling, every culture has created distinctive soundscapes that shape our daily experiences and mediate our relationships to the world.  Events will highlight interdisciplinary humanities research and creative activity on this year’s theme. 

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